Prime Minister Robert Walpole wears a long grey wig, the black and gold robes of the Chancellor and the garter ribbon and star, indicating his membership of the Order of the Bath. This half-length portrait is derived from a full-length original, painted in 1740, which formerly belonged to Walpole and is now in the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. Among the many other versions in existence are two in the Government Art Collection. It is one of several similar portraits of Walpole from the studio of Jean Baptiste van Loo. Born in France to a family of Flemish painters, van Loo moved to England in 1737, where he was patronised by Walpole. He returned France in 1742 and his later life was divided between Paris and Aix.
This painting was formerly in the collection of Lord Lee of Fareham (1868-1947), a politician and patron of the arts. In 1909 Lee purchased the Chequers mansion and estate in Buckinghamshire. He and his wife equipped the house with furniture and works of art, before presenting the estate, along with the contents of the house and an endowment for its upkeep of £100,000, for the use of successive prime ministers.
Jean Baptiste van Loo was born in Aix-en-Provence to a family of Flemish painters. He worked in the south of France until 1714, when he travelled to northern Italy and Rome, and settled in Paris in 1720. While in Paris, he established himself as a portrait painter in the circle of the Regent, Philippe d'Orléans, and also painted a portrait of Louis XV. In 1731, he became a member of the Académie Royale. In 1737, van Loo moved to England, where he was patronised by Prime Minister Robert Walpole. In 1742, after a year’s ill-health, van Loo returned to Aix and his later life was divided between Paris and Aix. Today, his works are in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London; the Louvre, Paris; and the Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.